There are times in politics when I just shake my head, and this is one of these times.
I’ve been saying for a long time (including in my leaflets) that funding constantly circles outward from the sphere of influence. It’s the dirty little secret that nobody talks about, but that everyone knows about. It’s because funding is put where the most votes can be won. That tight-knit funding often rears its ugly head when tax revenues drop – like during a cost of living crisis, and it’s the prime reason to ensure your elected councillors speak for your ward, not for a party line.
This has always troubled me because a person in West Fife Villages pays the same tax as someone in Glenrothes or Kirkcaldy. Funding should not be dictated by where the most votes can be won.
However, the Tories have stepped it up a notch in this election it would seem. Bringing the dirty little secret into the open with a veiled threat. Douglas Ross, the leader of the Tories in Scotland has said that Voting Tory gives wards the “best shot” at securing “UK Government cash”. Be clear. Telling the electorate to vote a certain way for either gain or by not voting that way, implies you will suffer a loss financially – is what we call bribery! It’s the same as inducing people to vote for you by handing out £10 notes at the polling station.
Let’s break his statement down for a minute. First, let’s be clear. There is NO SUCH THING as “Westminster cash”. The cash that comes to Scotland is your cash. It’s the tax you pay to the treasury which has had a big slice taken out of it for things the UK Government buy “on our behalf” and the residual is then sent to Scotland. So it’s your cash, not Westminster’s.
Secondly, funding shouldn’t be based on votes. What this is, is a veiled threat from Douglas Ross that those that don’t vote Tory can expect their own tax money to be witheld from their local communities and given to more affluent areas. For me, if I had ever thought of voting Tory (but never would), that would have been an instant turnoff.
What Mr Ross is threatening here is nothing short of taxation without representation, a deliberate threat to take your tax money and give it to other communities because you refused to vote conservative. Without putting too much thought into it, my immediate response is to tell Mr Ross to ***** ****** ****** ****** **** **** morris dancing.
This is exactly why West Fife cannot elect a conservative this time around, and why we should all be seeking to remove them from Fife Council by using the power of the voting system in council elections.
It’s also a reason why I hold fast to my belief in independence because it would stop the UK Government from holding us to ransom with our own taxation. Permenantly!
On the basis of the fact that Ross has done this, I have written to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life, the Electoral Commission and the Standards Committee at Westminster (because he’s an MSP and an MP). My letter is published in full here: My Letter to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards RE: Douglas Ross.